Detroit, MI, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- January 14, 2010 - Toyota has recently kicked off its global demonstration program involving approximately 600 Prius plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHVs), the company has announced.

Beginning early this year, 150 PHVs will begin to arrive in the United States where they will be placed in regional clusters with select partners for market and consumer analysis and technical demonstration.

The Prius PHV introduces Toyota’s first generation lithium-ion drive battery. When fully charged, the vehicle is targeted to achieve a maximum electric-only range of about 13 miles and capable of achieving highway speeds of more than 60 mph in electric-only mode. For longer distances, the Prius PHV reverts to “hybrid mode” and operates like a regular Prius.

All program vehicles will be equipped with data retrieval/communication devices, which will monitor activities such as how often the vehicle is charged and when, whether the batteries are depleted or being topped-off during charging, trip duration and all-electric driving range, combined mpg, etc.

As it becomes available, this data from the program vehicles will be posted to a dedicated website to help consumers understand how the vehicles are being used and how they're performing.
 
Toyota believes this demonstration program is a necessary next step in societal preparation in that it allows a unique opportunity to inform, educate and prepare customers for the electrification of the automobile in general and the introduction of plug-in hybrid technology, the company said in a statement.

The announcement was made at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, alongside the unveiling by Toyota of its FT-CH dedicated compact hybrid concept, aimed at broadening the variety of conventional hybrid choices to consumers. According to Toyota the FT-CH captures the spirit and functionality of a car that thrives in the inner-city environment; sized right to be nimble, responsive and maneuverable.

Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales commented that a Prius family “marketing strategy” for North America is under development. With plans to sell a million hybrids per year globally, a majority of them in North America, the company plans to launch eight all new hybrid models over the next few years.